Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Canadians: Get Up! Stand Up!

"I want to start with a quote from a 35-year-old African American man talking about his drug use as a younger man. He said:

'You might just be bored, or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection. If the high didn't solve whatever it was that was getting you down, it could at least help you laugh at the world's ongoing folly and see through all the hypocrisy and bullshit and cheap moralism.'

That man called himself a junkie and a pothead. He said he was a confused teenager. He also went on to become the President of the United States, Barack Obama."

~ Professor Eugene Oscapella (Barrister and Solicitor, Lecturer in Criminology, University of Ottawa

Canadians, albeit slowly, are becoming more aware of the utter failure of the racist, greed filled War on Drugs and question draconian government policy regarding Cannabis.

From Canadian Senator Larry Cambell's Web Blog:

"According to recent crime statistics, it is estimated that the federal and provincial governments spend between $300 million and $500 million a year enforcing the law against simple possession of cannabis. Now maybe Canadians have become used to hearing about such amounts of money, but I know that a lot of communities, particularly those where our Aboriginal peoples reside, could make much better use of such funds.

It’s about time that we get over the stigma associated with many of the false assumptions that dominate this debate, and pragmatically move forward on eliminating pot prohibition. As someone who has both walked the streets as a member of the RCMP’s drug squad and examined legislation for passage into law as a Senator, I have a sharp understanding of what constitutes a criminal.

Those that use pot just don’t fit the profile."

The Americans have been telling us: Do not duplicate our failure!

Are you as a Canadian prepared to live in a society that will now be spending billions more in Cannabis enforcement? Do you think that your hard earned tax dollars should continue to be wasted in a war on people that will never, ever end? Are you willing to accept that with the passing of Bill C-15 (Update: now renamed Bill S-10 after prorogation by the Tories) Canada will no doubt end up like the United States, who consists of only 5% of the worlds population, but incarcerates 25% of their citizens?"

Canadians, please educate yourself on Bill S-10, which will enact mandatory minimum sentencing. If we continue down a path of incarceration instead of rehabilitation as the United States has erroneously done, it won't soon be long that Big Brother will have to build dozens more super jails to house all of us. And taxpayers will pay for it all. Please visit whyprohibition.ca for all of the information on this Bill, including a petition and where to write your Members of Parliament.

I warn you now though that Prohibition does affect you and your families' safety, you should be very concerned. Prohibition creates the black market, that market makes untaxed money, and lots of it. The "BC Bud" cash crop alone is estimated to make 7-12 Billion dollars a year for the Underground Economy. Organized crime and gangs need money to fund further illegal enterprises and buy weapons to carry their tasks out. So in fact, the very government prohibition is handing cartels and gangs their profits on a silver platter, and in the process exposing you and your family to living in a country that must endure more crime from increasingly violent territorial turf wars. Disputes are settled in the streets with guns, not the courts.

Sound Familiar? It should. It's exactly what happened during Alcohol Prohibition in the 1920's and 30's.

Innocent people get caught in gun crossfire. Innocent people are dying because we have a government that would rather be viewed as "tough on crime". But wouldn't you rather have a government that is smart about crime?

I'll say it again. As it stands cartels and gangs control the whole illicit drug industry, are making huge profits, and using the money from drug sales to fund other criminal enterprises that do cause harm to society.

Like Identity Theft. ((Update: (01/28/10) Because the Conservatives prorogued parliament on New Years Eve, a bill to address the growing problem of Identity Theft died. Check out Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament )

"From the Report to the Minister of Public Safety Canada and the Attorney General of the United States,October 2004

Identity theft refers to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's identifying information for the purpose of fraud or other criminal activity, typically for economic gain. The perpetrators of identity theft include members of organized criminal groups or networks, terrorists and individual criminals. Identity theft is usually done for economic gain but has also been used by terrorists to obtain cover employment, finance their activities and avoid detection when carrying out their attacks. Criminals also use identity theft to divert law enforcement focus away from the true perpetrators of crimes.

There are indications identity theft is growing rapidly, due in part to the Internet and modern technology. During a one-year period in 2002-2003, total losses to individuals and businesses related to identity theft in the United States were estimated at approximately US$53 billion. In Canada the losses for 2002 were estimated at approximately CAN$2.5 billion.

On the basis of available data, it appears that identity theft is likely to continue to grow substantially over the next decade and become increasingly important in cross-border criminality. It is expected to pose a threat to tens of millions of people and businesses in Canada and the United States unless law enforcement authorities and private-sector entities mount a vigorous and coordinated response to the problem."

So which is a bigger threat to you? Someone enjoying a joint in the privacy of their own home, or the growing chance that criminals are using their black market drug money to steal your money?

You don't have to advocate drug use. If you think that it's "wrong" to use a substance, it's your belief and you are free to hold it. But the next time you reach for a Tylenol for a headache or a Robaxacet for your bad back, remember that they are drugs too. In fact, drugs taken as prescribed in hospitals are the fourth leading cause of death in Canada – about 10,000 deaths a year. Perhaps another 10,000 are caused outside hospitals. Pharmaceuticals dominate our medical care to the point that we spend more on legal drugs (in 2005 prescription and Over the Counter amounted to $24 Billion) than we do on doctors ($18 Billion) while seriously injuring over 100,000 people a year in Canada, and over two million in the U.S.

Cannabis has never, in the history of all mankind, killed anyone.

"The "Gateway Theory" doesn't work.

The money saved from ending prohibition can be put towards education for children, health care, housing and community programs, and most importantly, funding for police efforts dealing with real crimes like murder, child and domestic abuse, paedophilia, child pornography, theft and so on. It is also much more cost effective to offer rehabilitation programs for hard drug users then it is to house them in jails, where they learn how to be - better criminals.

Of course there will still be rules. For example, no driving or using heavy machinery (just like it says on prescription medication bottles) after use. Proof of legal age for Cannabis purchase at regulated dispensaries would apply, similar to the sale of alcohol and cigarettes. This immediately eliminates the job of "Drug Dealer", and we all know they ask kids for ID, right? If anything, governments biggest argument that drugs can be dangerous is the smartest reason to control it.

Over 600,000 Canadians now have criminal records because they chose to use Cannabis. For the most part, these are otherwise law abiding, caring, socially productive individuals who have made a personal choice to use a naturally grown non-toxic plant.

Cannabis has been used by humans for thousands of years, we as a society should not sit idle when people who hurt no one else are filling prisons for profits. Legalizing will put cartels out of business and Canadians will no longer have to suffer the collateral damage that prohibition and the war on drugs causes.

Whether one chooses to use Cannabis, a natural plant, or not is a personal choice. Just as one can decide to have a beer watching a hockey game, a glass of wine after the kids are in bed, or start your morning off with a nice hot cup of coffee. The last time I checked I did not hand the federal government the authority to make that decision for me. I am an adult of sound mind and I have autonomy over my own body. Criminalizing people who choose to use an herb that has ZERO recorded deaths is outright ridiculous.

What I ingest is my business. What you ingest is your business. Not that of politicians and police. Alcohol, nicotine, prescription drugs, unhealthy eating, coffee, these all contribute to thousands of deaths in Canada every year, but we don't throw Alcoholics, sugar-fiends and drinkers of Timmie's Cafe Mochas in jail either. Too much junk and fast food can pack on the pounds - does this mean we should incarcerate obese people because they are harming themselves and costing society money in health care costs? Where does it end? How far will the government go in the name of "Keeping us safe from ourselves"? Ask yourself: "Just how free are we?"

This video is one everyone should see, and hopefully pass on. Barry Cooper, a highly ranked former DEA Agent who fought on the front lines of the War on Drugs speaks to students at the University of North Texas. The event was organized by the Texas chapters of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) April 5, 2007.

"Now what I contend is that my body is my own, at least I have always so regarded it. If I do harm through my experimenting with it, it is I who suffers, not the state."
- Mark Twain

Excerpts from:
The 19th meeting of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Bill C-15, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

Mr. Gord Perks (Councillor, Toronto City Council, and Chair, Toronto Drug Strategy Implementation Plan):
Canada's prisons and criminal justice system do not have enough capacity at present. Prisons are overcrowded and courts are congested. In reality, it is the provinces and territories that will feel much of the financial impact of this legislation, as many of the mandatory sentence terms will be less than two years. However, there is only one taxpayer, and Canadians will pay the increased prison, court, and police costs resulting from Bill C-15. The average cost of incarcerating someone in Canada's federal system is $93,000 per year, or $255 per day. How I wish I had those kinds of resources to help members in my community who are struggling with addiction. It costs substantially less to maintain an offender in the community than in prison: $23,000 per year versus $93,000.

Mr. Philippe Lucas (Executive Director, Vancouver Island Compassion Society and Canadians for Safe Access):
I just want to differentiate between drug-related crime, which Mr. Bagnell mentioned, and prohibition-related crime. When we talk about shootings in Toronto, when we talk about shootings in Vancouver, these are not people on drugs shooting each other. These are people shooting each other for drug profits. Nothing to do with the actual substances themselves has caused this violence. This violence is caused by the profitability of these drugs. So obviously addressing the difference between drug-related crime, which is typically petty crime that feeds someone's substance abuse and dependence on substances, is very different from prohibition-related crime, which is the high violence we're seeing and the gun violence we're seeing in our major cities in Canada.

Professor Eugene Oscapella (Barrister and Solicitor, Lecturer in Criminology, University of Ottawa:
I want to start with a quote from a 35-year-old African American man talking about his drug use as a younger man. He said:

You might just be bored, or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection. If the high didn't solve whatever it was that was getting you down, it could at least help you laugh at the world's ongoing folly and see through all the hypocrisy and bullshit and cheap moralism.

That man called himself a junkie and a pothead. He said he was a confused teenager. He also went on to become the President of the United States, Barack Obama. It's ironic to see so many of the politicians on Parliament Hill salivating at the prospect of being seen in the presence of this man when under this law (Bill C-15) he would in all likelihood have been condemned to a two-year mandatory minimum prison sentence because he used cocaine. As you know, under the current drug law, even just passing a joint or passing a powder to a friend, not selling it, is considered trafficking. That can also probably be said of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both of whom have admitted their past drug use. Is this not a bit hypocritical?

I appeal to all Canadians, please stand up for civil rights on behalf of your children, your families, your friends and your fellow citizens who are presently incarcerated for using a plant that is said to be in the anointing oil of Jesus Christ. Speak up and be heard. Let your government officials know that you are in the dark no more. You see the bigger picture and realize that prohibition of Cannabis has amounted to a complete and total failed policy with all of Canadian society becoming an unwilling victim.

You realize government cannot legislate human behavior. Educate yourself about prohibition, and how Cannabis came to Canada and was unceremoniously criminalized without debate, because it really does affect us all. Take this knowledge and spread it. Our chance for a more peaceful country urgently depends on it. If you do nothing, if we don't all become involved in something so important as securing a safer, kinder, future for generations to come, Canada, as a nation, will surely fail.

Marley &Tosh -
"Get Up, Stand Up! Don't Give Up the Fight"


  1. well written well said i agree wholeheartedly

  2. Thank you very much, Anonymous. I believe a majority of Canadians would agree MMs are a horrible idea - all we have to do is look what it has done for our neighbours to the South.

  3. UPDATE!!! Bill C-15 is now Bill S-10 (renamed after Prorogation)
    Bill S-10 ~ New Name For Bad Law

  4. UPDATE! October 2011 - The Conservatives have now bundled Mandatory Minimum Sentencing in a Omnibus Bill, Bill C-10, - please visit CannabisFacts.ca, whyprohibition.ca and Leadnow.ca to find out how you can help the fight against this terrible legislation!!!


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